How history textbooks reflect America’s refusal to reckon with slaveryAugust 26, 2019
Four hundred years ago, a group of about 20 Africans were captured in the African interior, probably near modern-day Angola, and forcibly transported on a slave ship headed to the Americas. After tumultuous months at sea, they landed ashore in the first British colony in North America — Jamestown, Virginia — in late August 1619.
Hazen’s Elementary History of the United States: A Story and a Lesson, a popular early 20th-century textbook for young readers, picked up the story of the first black Virginians from there.
“The settlers bought them,” explained the 1903 text, “… and found them so helpful in raising tobacco that more were brought in, and slavery became part of our history.”